I visited Israel twice and left a piece of my heart there each time (“Locals react to rejection of Western Wall compromise,” June 29). My granddaughter just returned from a Birthright Israel trip and we had a wonderful conversation about that special country.
It should be pointed out that the Jewish population of Israel can be divided into three groups: Orthodox, traditional, and secular. The largest group is the secular Jews, making up 41.4 percent of the Jewish population, followed by traditional Jews, accounting for 38.5 percent of the population, with the remaining 20 percent populated by the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox. In Israel, the Reform and Conservative movements are estimated to make up 7.6 percent of the Jewish population, a significantly lower rate compared to the Jewish diaspora.
I am very upset with Prime Minister Netanyahu over his decision to suspend his own policy allowing the expansion of egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel. It is truly a slap in my face and in the face of many Jews worldwide, including many American Jews, because we believe in religious freedom and pluralism for the country that means so much to us.
I remember on one of my Israel trips standing on a chair next to the Wall to be able to see the men praying and the women standing next to me with their “la la las,” sounds of praise, ululating joyously.